Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles 'Felt Like the Biggest Rockstars' While Filming Taylor Swift's 'Fortnight' Video

The 'Dead Poets Society' actors' surprise cameos played a key role in Swift's 'Tortured Poets Department' visual

Ethan Hawke and his Dead Poets Society costar Josh Charles served as the perfect Easter eggs for Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department rollout.

The pop star reunited the two actors and longtime friends for the music video for her first album single, “Fortnight,” released on April 19, decades after they starred in their 1989 Oscar-nominated film together. The acting pair starred as scientists conducting experiments on the singer following a failed love affair, with collaborator Post Malone also making an appearance as Swift’s love interest.

During a Monday, May 6 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Hawke, 53, explained how the epic visual collaboration came together after he and Charles, 52, got a call about Swift’s new album.

<p>Scott Kowalchyk/CBS</p> Ethan Hawke guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on May 6, 2024

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Ethan Hawke guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on May 6, 2024

“I think she wanted to hide a little Easter egg about Dead Poets Society,” he said of the video’s clever reference. 

The Before Sunrise actor went on to describe what it was like for him and his costar to keep their surprise cameos a secret ahead of the release of "Fortnight."

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk through an airport with a friend you’ve known for 35 years and watch all the young people with their Eras sweatshirts on and their Taylor Swift things, and we got something on them,” Hawke said with a smirk. “We’re going to meet the queen ourselves.”

He then revealed that he even had to refrain from telling his teenage daughters that he made an appearance in Swift’s music video, saying, “No, I signed an NDA.”

<p>Taylor Swift/YouTube</p> Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles in Taylor Swift's Fortnight music video

Taylor Swift/YouTube

Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles in Taylor Swift's Fortnight music video

“You tell my teenage daughters that I’m going to meet Taylor, and everybody at school’s going to know,” Hawke added. The actor joked that when his daughters did find out about his cameo, “the look on their faces was one of profound disappointment.”

“Taylor belongs to them,” Training Day star said in defense, “I can’t have that on them, so I had to low-key it.”

<p>Taylor Swift/YouTube</p>

Taylor Swift/YouTube

Related: Taylor Swift Shares More Behind-the-Scenes of 'Fortnight' Video in New Clip: 'A Fortnight Since TTPD'

Hawke said, all in all, he and Charles had tons of fun while filming with Swift. “We laughed ourselves silly the whole day,” he recalled. “We felt like the biggest rockstars in the world.”

The 14-time Grammy winner's “Fortnight” video dropped the same day as her The Tortured Poets Department album. Beyond Hawke and Charles’ appearances, the visual featured a slew of Easter eggs for fans to dissect, from her Poor Things wardrobe parallels to the typewriter motif that’s defined the Tortured Poets Department era.

The singer teased all her cinematic hints to fans later that day, writing on Instagram, “When I was writing the Fortnight music video, I wanted to show you the worlds I saw in my head that served as the backdrop for making this music. Pretty much everything in it is a metaphor or a reference to one corner of the album or another. For me, this video turned out to be the perfect visual representation of this record and the stories I tell in it.”

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